Link Established Between Exercise And Pre-Teen Mental Health

Pre-Teen girl exercising

A link has been established between engaging in regular physical activity and mental health improvements in adolescents, as well as reducing behavioural problems such as fighting with other children, losing their temper, lying and stealing.

Carried out by the universities of Edinburgh, Strathclyde and Bristol in the UK and Georgia University in the US, the research reviewed data from the Children of the 90s study, finding that regular and moderate intense physical activity could potentially have a protective influence on mental health in early adolescence.

Professor John Reilly from the University of Strathclyde commented on the findings, saying: “While it might seem obvious that physical activity improves mental health the evidence for such a benefit in children and young people has been scarce, so the study findings are important.

“The findings are also important because levels of moderate-to-vigorous intensity activity globally are so low in pre-teens globally – less than a third achieve the 60 minutes per day recommended by the WHO and UK Health Departments.”

Encouraging pre-teens to get more exercise can help them form habits that will last a lifetime and benefit them in many ways as they get older. 

Talking about it and asking your children what activities they’d like to try is a great way to begin, as long as you avoid falling into lecture mode. If you approach the subject casually, it’s far more likely that your child will respond favourably.

The good news is that there are countless opportunities for exercise – and it can be fun at the same time! Bouldering, for example, is proving really popular at the moment for people of all ages and it’s something that the whole family can do together, so it’s a wonderful bonding experience at the same time.


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